08/01/18 - A couple of Wainwrights

With a good weather window and snow on the tops I loaded the van and headed up to the Lakes. My original plan was to get an early start and head up to Birkhouse Moor and Catstycam and try and get a sunrise shot from high up with some snow in the foreground.

However as I reached Ullswater I drove past the most famous boat house in the world and suddenly my plans changed. I pulled over and had a quick rethink, I could get a series of stars for a star trail, grab the boathouse at sunrise and then grab a couple of nearby Wainwrights that I hadn't done.

So the new plan was put into action, I set the camera going next to the van and dived into my sleeping bag to get away from the bitterly cold wind. I took 78 shots at 20 seconds with a 2 second gap before I got bored and headed over to find one of the few locations to photograph the boat house from. 

I started off with 30 second exposures but passing traffic and increasing daylight cut the shutter speed right down, but in the end I was quite happy with my first attempt here. However a passing photographer stopped to have a chat, and showed me some of his photos of the boat house which made me realise that I still have a long way to go.

Once I had finished at the boat house I made my way on the ice covered roads to Martindale for a short walk up Hallin Fell and then a longer walk up Beda Fell and back down Boredale. I had originally planned to incorporate Place Fell but I was stopping for images that often I ended up running out of time.

In all a great little trip, I finally managed to photograph a honey pot location, but the real gem of the trip were the views of the Helvellyn Range.

07/01/18 - Broadstone Reservoir

I suspected a decent sunset so decided to go local and take the dog for a walk but I wanted somewhere that I hadn't been before. 15 minutes later and I arrived at Broadstone Reservoir with a multitude of dog walkers in the area but luckily none near the corner that I had selected to set up the tripod. I arrived just in time for the colour and I managed to get a few decent shots as the sun set. There was also a little Kestrel nearby but by the time I had changed lenses it had gone. A nice little hidden gem of a location with some small trees at the lakeside for some foreground interest.

06/01/18 - Yorkshire Coastline

I have a little competition going with my mate Andy; we have a different theme each month, and this months theme is Harbours. After Andy thrashed me last month with his Tree shot, I was desperate to get out and try and get some decent images in the bag.

The plan was to visit Whitby and Staithes to try and get a night time shot of boats in the harbour with lights reflecting off the water. However the weather wasn't playing ball and as I was driving over the North Yorkshire Moors the rain was horrendous.

I arrived at Whitby just in time for a break in the showers, so I jumped out and managed to get a couple of shots of boats in the harbour before the rain returned. I then headed North where I noticed a church silhouetted against the night sky, and there was no way that I was driving past this one without trying to capture an image.

After my Church shot I then continued North to Staithes and eventually found my way up onto Cowbar Nab, however the wind was quite strong which rocked the tripod and any long exposure shots I tried came out blurred. I then retired back to the car to try and get some sleep in the wind blown car, ready for the harbour sunrise shot. When my alarm woke me at 7 am I looked out and knew straight away that there was not going to be any colour in the sky so I made my way back to Whitby to see if I could get an image of the Abbey. 

As I pulled into the car park at Whitby Abbey I could see other blokes running around with tripods and huge lenses,and on speaking to them there was a rare sighting of a Desert Wheatear which had been blown miles off course and should have been somewhere in Africa, although I caught a glimpse of it I couldn't get close enough with my lens.

I then continued on to Robin Hoods Bay for a short walk on the beach before heading home.

A nice little adventure, but again the weather wasn't playing ball, a beautiful part of the world and I will definitely be back hopefully with some nicer weather.

31/12/17 - Spurn Point

I left the family snoring away in a hotel in Hull and after an hour's drive I arrived at the car park at Spurn Point to find one other car in the car park. It turned out that this car belonged to another photographer who I found deep in concentration among the groynes on the East beach. A quick exchange of pleasantries and I was back on the trail to get the image that I had come for, namely the old light house at sunrise. However with a dull grey sky I knew that I wasn't going to get the shot that I wanted. After admitting defeat I made my way back on the beach where I came across another landscape photographer who gave me some excellent tips on how to develop my photography. He had also found an interesting composition of some groynes which I was only too glad to copy, cheers Dave.

A really enjoyable walk, but not many decent images and a good excuse to come back here. Frustratingly the following morning after a drunken New Years night I awoke to a magnificent sunrise out of the hotel window. 

30/12/17 - The Deep, Hull

A couple of nights with the family in a hotel in Hull for New Years Eve. We arrived in Hull and made our way directly to The Deep for a couple of hours entertainment. I had timed the visit so I could get a sunset shot of the nearby marina, but as we left the building there was no real colour in the sky. I still managed to get one or two semi decent images of fish in captivity, but wish they were in the wild instead.

29/12/17 - Snailsden Pike End

Another trip out to try and get a decent shot of a Mountain hare with my new lens. I was up here last year doing some night navigation training for my Mountain Leaders assessment when I nearly stood on one of the little buggers. With plenty of snow on the ground and loads more falling from the sky I knew it was going to be hard to spot them, but after a couple of hours walking in the deep snow I ended up seeing 4 hares however none of them were close enough to get a decent photo. Still an enjoyable walk in the snow with an entertaining drive home. 

28/12/17 - Star Trails

I had actually gone to bed and was watching a You Tube clip on how to photograph star trails. The author was explaining the perfect conditions which was exactly what was happening outside, so I got up, got dressed, walked past a bewildered wife in the living room and drove over to the car park at Winscar Reservoir. I had selected this location as it was the nearest location to my house with the least amount of light pollution. I also learnt that the moon set time is an hour out from TPE times, and I hadn't catered for the GMT one hour difference. Despite this I found my composition and set the timer for 230 shots of 30 second and sat in the van for the next 3 hours waiting for the camera to do its stuff. Another consideration that I hadn't catered for was the settings on my camera which closes down after a certain amount of time of no human activity. Despite these huge lessons I spent the rest of the day navigating around Lightroom and Starstax but I'm quite happy with the outcome of my first attempt at star trails, but theres plenty of room for improvement on the time lapse video. 

26/12/17 - Ox Stones

I had been given a lovely Christmas present from the wife in the form of a new lens (Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro), and I was quite keen to get out and have a play with it. After dropping my daughter and her friend at Meadowhall I drove over to Ringinglow for a short walk over the moors to the Ox Stones. I had wanted to get a sunset shot with the stones in the foreground, and although there was some interesting cloud formations there was no real colour in the sky. Although the new glass is super sharp and great for my ongoing mountain hare project its not the best for landscapes as I had to get miles away from the stones to fit them in the frame. 

17/12/17 - Thurstonland Church

I had originally gone out for a sunrise shot with another foreground feature in mind, but as soon as I saw the church spire at Thurstonland I knew it would be a better feature than the one I had planned. I parked near to the Rose & Crown Pub (where I have spent many an evening) and walked on a familiar track which has some great views over Holmfirth and Honley.

There was a bit of colour in the sky as I arrived and it kindly waited for me to get set up before the whole sky lit up. A very impressive sky with a decent foreground feature, hopefully I have captured the moment.

16/12/17 - Blackmoorfoot Reservoir

I was just leaving the house to head over to Holmfirth to visit my Grandma when I saw some colour in the sky, so I grabbed my camera and went via Blackmoorfoot Reservoir.

There was certainly some colour in the sky when I arrived but a low bank of cloud stopped it from being anything spectacular. However the low clouds did give a fan like effect for the sun rays behind the clouds which was quite impressive. I did manage to grab a few semi decent photos and got chatting to a local dog walker.  He reassured me that this was the best spot in Huddersfield for sunsets, so I think I will be back up here a few more times. 

16/12/17 - Farnley Tyas

I had fully intended on having a lay in today, so I hadn't check the weather or TPE, and I certainly hadn't set my alarm. However I was accidentally woken by the wife as she was leaving for work so I looked outside to see a promising sunrise but I didn't have much time to get out. 

I jumped in the car and 10 minutes later I was parked up on Green Side Road at Farnley Tyas with a great view towards Shepley and some great colours in the sky. 

A few images taken and I was also rewarded for getting up with a rainbow which I haven't really captured in its true glory. 

Anyway with no plan I managed to grab a few images I am reasonably happy with and really glad I got my back side out of bed.

15/12/17 - Derwent Edge

I had originally planned a trip to the Lakes with my work mate Mark, but he rightly pointed out that it was a bit of a trek and daylight was limited. As I was still on the hunt for a decent image of a mountain hare I quickly changed the venue to Derwent Edge in the Peak District, where I know that there are plenty of hares as I once took a group up there on a day out with the National Park Rangers.

We met at Holmfirth then made the 40 minute drive over the Strines and parked at Cutthroat Bridge, from here we followed the obvious path up to Whinstone Lee Tor just in time for sunrise. We then followed the obvious path up to Wheels Stones where we kept dropping down into the valley to capture some images of Mountain Hares. 

From the trig point at Back Tor we dropped down to Dovestone Clough, then down to the reservoir. We followed the track towards the A57 then found the footpath back to Cutthroat Bridge.

A brilliant day day out with some glorious sunshine, plenty of hares about, waist deep snow in places and plenty of photo opportunities. 

11/12/17 - Black Hill

Today's walk was from Holme Moss car park to the trig point at Black Hill looking to grab some images of Mountain Hare's in their winter coats with some snow in the background. Plenty of fresh snow on the ground and plenty of tracks to follow but none of them led me to anything. I saw 3 in total but only at a distance and just about managed to get a shot of one typically in its summer coat before it disappeared. At least I know where to find them now, so I'll be back up here. A lovely cold but sunny day with a nice sunset to finish. 

09/12/17 - Keflavik

Our last day in Iceland, so an early walk to get the last sunrise of the trip and to try and make the most of the pink and purple colours in the sky. After the walk and hotel book out we made another drive into Reykjavik to grab a few photos before driving towards Keflavik where we had a couple of hours to kill. In all a fantastic trip, didn't see the Northern lights but that's just another excuse to come back. 

08/12/17 - Golden Circle

A drive to Gulfoss and Geysir with plenty of stops for photographs of some fantastic scenery with some spectacular skies. Just a bit miffed that I missed some killer shots with a lovely pink hue in the morning, but the sunrise and sunset shots sort of made up for it. 

07/12/17 - Blue Lagoon

A bit of a lay in today, but I was allowed because sunrise wasn't until 11.00 am. An hours drive and we arrived at Valahnukamol on the South West tip about 10.45 am giving me a bit of time to find a decent shot. The plan was to get an image of some sea stacks with the sun coming up behind them, but the grey clouds had followed us South and there was nothing really to impress photography wise. We then visited Gunnuhver Geothermal pools but the smell of sulphur sent the rest of the family back to the car. We then headed off to investigate a lava cave and then eventually the Blue Lagoon which without a shadow of a doubt is one of the best experiences anyone can have. It was pitch black by the time we left but I did manage to capture a couple of sunset shots in the water with my phone.

06/12/17 - Reykjavik

A treat from the wife for my 50th birthday, a trip to Iceland and hopefully tick a couple of items from the bucket list. Not much sleep the night before we travelled as I was like a young kid on Christmas Eve. We arrived at Reykjavik to temperatures well below freezing, strong winds, grey skies and driving snow but not the ideal weather for photography, so once we had booked into the hotel we went for a walk around the most expensive capital city in the world. 

27/11/17 - Holme Moss

Another wet and windy morning, but I'm up so I might as well get out. Once the wet weather kit was on I drove up to the car park at Holme Moss overlooking the last of the summer wine village of Holmfirth. The plan was to walk up to Black Hill trig point in the dark, see what sunrise images I could get with the trig point in the foreground and then go hunting for shots of  Mountain Hares with some snow in the background. I arrived at the car park and as I opened the door the wind ripped the door handle from my hand and the driving rain wet the drivers seat instantly. I wrapped up and started heading over the rain soaked moors blinded by the reflection off the rain from the head torch. There were pockets of snow hidden in sheltered gullies but nothing like what I had seen up here the previous day. About half a mile into my walk I coughed and felt a shooting pain down my back (old back injury), so sensibly I returned back to the car as this is definitely not the place to go into spasms. Once back at the safety of the car I hung around for sunrise, but I needn't have bothered as there was no image to be had here today.

26/11/17 - Castle Hill sunrise

I have the luxury of having a bedroom window that looks East, so when I look out in the morning and see some colour in the sky I know I need to get out. This morning there was some colour and with the addition of a few clouds I knew I didn't have long to get to my nearest viewpoint. I jumped in the car and 5 minutes later I arrived at Castle Hill to find another photographer taking his tripod for a walk, and a pleasant young couple with their cameras, sheltering out of the wind at Jubilee Tower. I managed to grab a couple of images of Emley Moor Mast as the sun came up. I exchanged Instagram details with my new photography mates then back to the car to get out of the bitterly cold wind. Always nice to meet new people.